• Mikeypleasebig

    Bookshelf: Mikey Please

Art

Bookshelf: Mikey Please

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

For animator Mikey Please a whole lot of story telling has happened between the deforming of Calvin & Hobbes out of plasticine (aged seven) and winning the Bafta for Best Short Animation this year with the relative tale of time, Eagleman Stag. From those formative years he has selected five, important sized literary works that have gone some way in crafting his own, unique narrative voice and the inspriational means to make it heard.

(The Complete) Calvin and Hobbes 1985-1995 Bill Watterson

In terms of personal nourishment from a literary teat, nothing has sustained me more through my formative years than Calvin and Hobbes. For the unfamiliar few, the series chronicles young outsider Calvin and his stuffed toy tiger Hobbes, who becomes ‘real’ when no one else is watching. Calvin uses this mode of escape through imagination to explore several worlds and characters, from Spaceman Spiff and Stupendious man to the G.R.O.S.S (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) society. But setting C & H aside from other stories similar in premise are the more cerebral subjects that work into the main narratives. Calvin’s reverence of nature, thoughtful analysis of our world, cherishing of childhood, friendship and his continued bafflement at other human beings all set about poking various parts of your brain. I’ve yet to come across a graphic work more diverse and subtle in its shading and interweaving of these components.
I first read C&H when I was seven, at a secondhand bookshop in Frome, and since then every year, for as long as they were in production, my brother and I would receive the new installment at christmas. My very first plasticine models were crude renderings of the pair in an Attack of the Killer Monster Snow Goons scene. Whilst growing up with the books, I also grew up with the author, seeing his development in style and content, expanding into longer stories, refining his line work and developing the visual complexities of Calvin’s world. It was my storytelling 101. Although much of the material may not have made complete literal sense to me first time round as a child, it laid the the way, like being surrounded by a foreign language, for the ideas later to be taken in. This balance of unabashed, glorious playfulness, with a sincere and thoughtful core has most certainly shaped the tone of my own work.
www.amazon.co.uk/complete=calvin-and-hobbes…

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers

An autobiography of the writer from his late teens, starting at the death of his parents and the legal guardianship of his infant brother, ending in his late twenties, this book is a wonderful reflection on what it is to be young and aspiring and trying to do something of cultural worth against the obstacles of LIFE. I read this book at precisely the right time, my early twenties, straight out of university with crippling ambitions for world domination, faced with mammoth obstructions and laughable results. Aside from living up to the title in every way, the book gave me a great sense of self awareness, laying a healthy dollop of self mockery right on my face. From Eggers failed magazine ‘MIGHT’ to his attempts to become a television personality in the 90s reality show ‘Party of Five’, we are exposed to his motivations, expressing the things we feel but would never say out loud, the full frontal honesty, extremely funny and not always pretty. The book becomes an analysis of itself as the characters begin to question how truthfully they are being portrayed by the writer and refuse to take part in any more self glorification. It’s a wonderfully difficult thing to know what you are doing, let alone see it from the perspective of somebody else, but Eggers manages to do this and and in doing so teaches you to do it a little yourself. Um, it’s just really, really good.
www.amazon.co.uk/heartbreaking-work-staggering-genius…

The Universe Next Door Marcus Chown

Twelve of the most out there, yet scientifically plausible theories about today. This book is awesome, in the dictionary definition of the word – we are mostly made up empty space! At the centre of every atom is a coil of time! You will never die, all the alternative reality versions of you will do that for you! Although as a complete book its far from the best thing ever written, some of the ideas in there are ridiculously cool. I’m a big fan of theories that might not be entirely believable, for me that doesn’t matter so much, it’s the story that counts. I can’t really begin to explain this stuff, I would do it badly and it would be boring, but read the book. It’ll lead you to many a drunken rant trying desperately to explain Boson particles. Which is better than it sounds.
www.amazon.co.uk/universe-next-door…

Sum – 40 tales form the Afterlives David Eagleman

Despite many a suggestion, I only happened across this book after the production of my last film (The Eagleman Stag) was long complete. I wish I had read it sooner. Written by David Eagleman, an American Neuroscientist who specalises in synesthesia and the perception of time, it details in brief one-two page stories, 40 alternative versions of the afterlife. Eagleman claims to be neither an Atheist or an Agnostic but a Possibilian; believing everything and anything to be possible and all equally as likely. The tales range from an afterlife where the events of your life are relived in sequence by their event categorisation, 27 years sleeping, 3 years on the loo, one week stood wondering why it was you entered the room etc… to being sent to a planet inhabited by simple dwarf creatures asking you desperately what the meaning of it all was. In one afterlife everything is exactly the same except it seams a little emptier and you slowly realise that the world is only inhabited by the people you met when you were alive, and you begin to regret all those you never met. From the bizarre to the poetic, at the core of each story is a gem of an idea. Although these invariably talk about life after death, for me they were not so much about dying but ways of interpreting, and holding a mirror up to the ways in which we live. This theme of seeing yourself more clearly is something that threads though many of my favorite stories. Where other writers might have taken one of these ideas and expanded it into a longer form, part of their joy of Sum is in its succinct nature, the bare bones of each story is what makes it all the more appealing. If you ever have the pleasure of reading this book try not to gobble them all at once. I suggest to consume but one a day, so you have time to savor and digest, ready for the next. I would like to believe in the second story to last. Read it and see.
www.amazon.co.uk/forty-tales-from-the-afterlives…

Aberystwyth Mon Amore Malcolm Pryce

A private eye pulp fiction, set in an alternative version of Aberystwyth, a Welsh seaside resort town in which druids are the local mafia, veterans of a forgotten civil war in Patagonia roam the beaches, and beautiful ladies in Welsh traditional stovetop hats wander the cobbled alleyways at night. The lyrical prose of Malcolm Pryce’s writing gives a gravitas to this otherwise ridiculous town, that any other rendering would have left feeling comic and flat. In the protagonist Louie Knight’s own words, punters would visit Sospan, the wisened ice cream vendor, in order ‘to take his vanilla soaked tickets to a world where pain was a grazed knee and a mothers kiss is never far away’. Again, the overall story is just so, so good. It feeds back into itself, builds and wraps up so beautifully, the threads weaving together into a cracking whip. The pastiche of welsh culture brought back many a memory of holidays to Fishguard and that area, the exaggerated oddness and idiosyncrasies bringing lightness in otherwise dark moments. The following books in the series are, in my opinion, a bit hit and miss (every odd numbered book is a goodun one, three & five), but Mon Amore remains the pinnacle of the series, building the world, it’s rules and amazing cast of characters and then smashing the whole thing in on its stovepipe-hatted head.
www.amazon.co.uk/aberystwyth-mon-amour

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Animation View Archive

  1. List

    A lot can happen in a day. And when a lot of things happen, you get a lot of pictures, as shown to rather mind-blowing effect in Parag K. Mital and Evan Boehm’s video collage Untitled No. 1 – a piece composed entirely of images collected from the previous 24 hour news cycle. The day in question was 10 December last year, though the pair is now releasing the video with some superbly searing, brutal new music by Rob Hart.

  2. Main

    Just as I was wondering nervously if Laura Marling had gone and got lost in the wilderness of Joshua Tree for good, she’s gone and announced a new album – hoorah! Just like Beyonce, Laura has accompanied the sudden announcement of her new songs with a video: a truly beautiful little animation from London studio Art & Graft. Featuring a few drops of ink transforming slowly into a wild, headstrong horse galloping through a desert to a world unknown, this powerful little piece of film is enough to remind us of Laura’s own majesty. The rather moving essay on her brand new website backs this up perfectly. Welcome back Laura, you’ve been missed.

  3. Main1

    I think I’m safe in saying that fans of Panda Bear, the pseudonym of Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, are probably pretty into video games. I’m also sure that those who are into video games (myself included) are also fans of the good vs. evil storyline prevalent in most games and a lot of films that resemble games, Studio Ghibli etc. There is pure beauty in the little guy overcoming the big baddie, or the idea of friends working together to solve a puzzle, or to override some kind of evil power.

  4. List

    As accolades go, being the man behind “the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar” is pretty special. That’s exactly what PES (aka Adam Pesapane) can boast though after Fresh Guacamole’s nod for best animated short despite running to just 100 seconds. After a super successful Kickstarter campaign PES is back with his new short Submarine Sandwich in which various bits of vintage sports equipment are sliced and diced and laid into the eponymous deli staple. PES said the new film has been “a labour of love” that began with a single image: “A boxing glove in a deli slicer… knuckles to the blade. This idea stuck with me and I knew I had to bring it to life.”

  5. List

    Contrary to popular belief, libraries can be wildly fun and psychedelic places if you’ve got the right tools to work with. Here and willing to help me prove my point are Tord Torpe and Magnus Nyquist, who created an animation to this end. Entitled KHIB Biblioteket after the library at their school, Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway, the animation sees a bandy-legged gent wandering absent-mindedly up to his library door, only to be thrown head first into a world of Memphis-inspired jumping shapes, swirling perspectives, fast-paced bright flashing colours and lights and morphing letterforms. It’s an incredibly ambitious project for a pair of students and happily it succeeds magnificently in its task, even being awarded a prize by Norwegian design blog Grafill.

  6. Main

    Did you know that the first episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared has had nearly 21 million views on YouTube so far? With that in mind, since launching three days ago, the third instalment of the cult series is marching quickly towards the million-hit mark. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 3 is the much-anticipated follow-up to the very well-recieved previous epidoes which you can see here and here. This time, the characters are spending a day in the countryside, having a delicious raw chicken picnic when suddenly their day is dampened by a pesky butterfly landing in their basket of meat.

  7. List-2

    If you’re anything like me, the 1990s were a decade dedicated to pogs, the Spice Girls, Hey Arnold and Clarissa Explains It All and with those keys players to occupy us it’s no surprise we were too busy to pause and take note of all the great slang vocal being flung around. Fortunately i-D were more than happy to recount the lot in their classic alphabetical fashion, and they even recruited the marvellous Layzell Bros to help them.

  8. List

    The internet is a weird and fantastical thing when you really think about it – fuelling so much more than our social lives and procrastination, it’s a constantly growing, unpredictable entity. Celebrating the wonders of the world wide web are animation studio Buck, based in Los Angeles and New York.

  9. List

    Moving pictures and music are a simple, universal pleasure, which is probably why I’m so drawn to Drew Tyndall’s series of animations, Loops.

  10. List-3

    I’m happy to admit that after watching all three minutes and 47 seconds of Stevie Gee’s new music video for Archie Bronson Outfit, my computer desktop is littered with so many screenshots of boobs, beers and motorbikes in psychedelic hues that I can scarcely find anything else. And the thing is I don’t even mind.

  11. List2

    Nothing helps the brain learn better than a good old visual aid, so what better way to tackle Harvard’s online neuroscience course than to watch these clever animations.

  12. Listtttt

    Lumiere Studios’ experiments in RealFlow software seamlessly flow out of the territory of tech and funnel into something rather lovely. The London-based animation design and production studio has uploaded a number of its tinkerings that showcase the software’s Hybrido system, taking the viewer through an impressive behind-the-scenes look at how it builds up simulations of gushing water. Stripped of their drama, the animations have a quiet pathos about them. As the building-blocks of the final effects, the vivid blues of the Truck Street video seem all the more arresting, silently flooding the streets and washing away their contents. In the museum animation, different volumes of fluid are contrasted against the eerie steps, elevating the experiment into something quite dazzling in its own right.

  13. Ffff

    Visual effects artist Dave Fothergill’s hypnotising animation I’ve Fallen, And I Can’t Get Up! is a glorious combination of schadenfreude, and an investigation into the capabilities of some high-end visual software.